The Ten Best Live Music Venues in Miami
Angel Olsen at 1306.
Ian Wilten/Red Bull Content Pool
Many factors play into what makes a music venue great. From size to sound quality to vibe and ambiance, it all matters. Miami’s music scene is ever-evolving. Although locals are still dealing with the loss of some of the city’s favorite venues, let's take a second to highlight some of the current best.
Here are Miami’s ten top live music venues:
1. The Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater
1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; 305-673-7300; fillmoremb.com
The Fillmore is everything you could want in a music venue. It boasts a huge stage, impeccable sound, killer lighting, and comfortable seating. Here is where you’ll catch acts that won’t draw crowds large enough to fill the American Airlines Arena. There’s a pit toward the front (wear armor if this is your option), standing room in the middle, and comfortable theater-style seating in the back. Bars are located on both sides, so you never miss a beat. Music posters of past shows adorn the walls of this elegant venue. Who doesn’t love memorabilia? Popular TV shows from the 1960s were frequently filmed in this art deco building. Jackie Gleason moved his show to this Miami Beach theater, and the rest was history.
Miami’s most infamous music venue ever.
Photo by Monica McGivern
2. Churchill’s Pub
5501 NE Second Ave., Miami; 305-757-1807; churchillspub.com
Just past the double-decker bus stands one of the most infamous music venues in Miami history. Your Magic City residency isn’t official if you haven't crossed the threshold of this legendary dive. The building is primed with sweat, spit, and beer, which is probably why it's been standing for almost 40 years. The venue’s extensive roster includes just about every great local punk, metal, hardcore, jazz, and rock band. There are both indoor and outdoor stages, TVs to catch your favorite soccer (ahem, football) matches, and pool tables. The standing area around the indoor stage gives punks enough room to get unapologetically rowdy. Pretty much every show here is memorable. You just never know what you’ll witness on the stage, because anything goes.
Best spot in Wynwood.
Photo by Monica McGivern
176 NW 24th St., Miami; 305-699-2669; gramps.com
Chugging cold beer to keep cool in Miami’s unforgiving humidity is a local pastime. And we wouldn’t want to do it anywhere other than Gramps. As the sign out front states, Gramps offers air conditioning, cold beer, and cocktails. But it offers so much more. This Wynwood haunt is a favorite to catch locals shred as if their lives depended on it. National acts also roll through pretty frequently, and the tickets are always decently priced. Gramps has two stages: the backroom, dubbed Shirley’s, and the outdoor stage, which also doubles as a tiki hut. Shirley’s provides an intimate setting for music lovers to enjoy live music and great vibes. To top it all off, Gramps offers delicious Brooklyn-style pizza, hot wings, garlic knots, and cafecito at its Pizza Tropical.
A quintessential Miami concert experience.
Photo by Luis Olazabal for Rhythm Foundation
4. North Beach Bandshell
7275 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-672-5202; northbeachbandshell.com
We live where most people vacation. We get to enjoy music outdoors near the beach while others are bundled up in ten layers and stuck in snow. This thriving North Beach pearl gives music fans the opportunity to appreciate the city’s beauty while swaying in the ocean breeze and watching live concerts under the stars. The venue’s beach location is a quintessential Miami concert experience. The North Beach Bandshell hosts local and national acts and has even been home to music festivals such as FM, House of Creatives, and GroundUp. Bonus: Cheap parking is available across the street.
A little slice of heaven in downtown Miami.
Photo by Jessica G.
5. Olympia Theater
174 E. Flagler St., Miami; 305-374-2444; olympiatheater.org
Get up. Go to work. Go home. Wake up the next day and do it all over again. The 9-to-5 grind blows. You’re probably dreaming about that trip to the Mediterranean right about now. If you can’t quite swing that getaway just yet, a visit to the exquisite Olympia Theater might sate that wanderlust in the meantime. Smack in the middle of bustling downtown Miami lies a little slice of heaven that you might not have even known was there. The Olympia Theater is a Magic City favorite that’s been around since 1926. It opened as a silent-movie palace. With its charming Mediterranean courtyard, simulated night sky, golden balconies, and opulent decor, this magnificent theater is surreal. It's historic and seriously one of the dreamiest places you'll ever enter.
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